The Naval Brief: Hypersonic urgency; Vaccinated and underway; Response to Russian demands; and more...
Welcome to The Naval Brief, a weekly look at the news and ideas shaping the sea services’ future.
Hypersonic meeting. America needs hypersonic weapons as soon as possible, as development races ahead in China and Russia, so Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has called a meeting with a dozen CEOs of American defense companies to convey that urgency, Defense One reports. The Navy is working with the Army to develop a hypersonic missile and plans to include it on the Zumwalt-class destroyers.
Vaccinated crews keeping safe, carrying on. The Omicron variant is not having much of an effect on naval operations because ship crews are 100 percent vaccinated and mitigation procedures are working, naval officials told reporters Wednesday. While there are a few cases of COVID-19 on a handful of ships at any given time, the symptoms are mild and the positive cases numbers are “almost statistically insignificant, but we still track it, even down to the number one of 1,000 on board,” Vice Adm. William Merz, the deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans, and strategy, told reporters.
Kicking out vaccine refusers. The Navy also announced Wednesday that it has separated 23 active-duty sailors who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine, “all with an honorable characterization of service.” The sailors were all enlisted with less than six years of service, with pay grades between E2 to E5, said Lt. Travis Callaghan, a spokesman for the Chief of Naval Personnel in an email to Defense One.
Diplomatic letter exchange. The U.S. and NATO have responded in writing to Russia’s demands, in hopes of continuing diplomatic dialogue as tensions grow over a possible reinvasion of Ukraine, Defense One reports. Meanwhile, the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is participating in NATO exercise Neptune Strike 22, while Russia’s navy conducts drills in the Baltic Sea.
Sign up to get The Naval Brief every Thursday from Caitlin M. Kenney, Defense One’s military services reporter. On this day in 1942, the USS Gudgeon became the first U.S. submarine to sink an enemy warship in World War II, the Japanese submarine I-173.
From Defense One
‘Every Window Will Shoot’: Experts Lay Out Potential Ukraine Conflict Scenarios // Patrick Tucker: If the Kremlin decides to push across the border, it has widely varying options.
Republicans Are Split Over Ukraine, Threatening a Rare Bipartisan Consensus // Jacqueline Feldscher: Some GOPers think Biden is doing too little to counter Russia. The far right thinks he’s doing too much.
Pentagon Puts 8,500 Troops On ‘Heightened Alert’ Over Russian Threat To Ukraine // Tara Copp: The force would not seek to stop an invasion, but to protect NATO’s Eastern flank.